August 14, 2002
Sumil Shah, the youngest of three boys, moved with his family to Saunders Lane off Persimmon Tree Road on his birthday, Oct. 2, 1989. He was eight years old.
On Monday, Aug. 12, Sumil died, just short of his 21st birthday, and a short distance from his home.
“He was the baby of all of us,” said his brother, Sanjit Shah, 29. “It was amazing; he was a buddy to all of us.”
Sumil’s many friends gathered at the scene of the accident, creating a memorial, and invited Sanjit and the family. The outpouring of affection for Sumil affected the family deeply, Sanjit said.
“It was wonderful to see how his friends looked up to him,” Sanjit said. “We knew, but to see it in his friends was amazing.”
SUMIL WAS ALWAYS helping others, always thinking of others first, Sanjit said, and when he died he was out picking up a purse that had been left behind.
Sumil’s cousin, Nikesh Shah, 18, was the other person in the car, and also died in the crash. Nikesh was visiting from the Chicago area, Sanjit said.
“They were both the youngest of three. They were like angels who had been sent down to be with us,” Sanjit said, describing both boys as joyful. “They loved life. They were taken from us too soon.”
Sumil joyful nature was a pleasure to everyone who knew him, said Penny Heltzer, a neighbor. The Heltzers sold their house to the Shahs, moving a short distance, and so had known Sumil since 1989. Heltzer described the family as very loving and very close.
“He had this very warm and loving spirit about him that attracted people to him, a playfulness,” said Heltzer. “He was a cheery kid, with a sparkle in his eye.”
Sumil had attended Carderock Springs Elementary, Thomas Pyle Middle School and Walt Whitman High School. He was currently enrolled at Montgomery College.
Sumil loved his car, loved driving, Sanjit said. “He left us in the thing he loved most … You don’t expect it so soon.”
Services will be held today, Wednesday, Aug. 14, beginning at 1 p.m. at Fleck Funeral Home, 7601 Sandy Spring Road in Laurel.
The family requests that contributions in lieu of flowers be sent in Sumil Shah’s name to the Jain Society of Metro D.C., 1021 Briggs Chaney Road, Silver Spring, Md. 20904.